Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 49

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Chosen People (c 23-50)
Theme: The Story of Joseph (c 37-50)
Message: Jacob's Prophecies (v 1-33)

Genesis 49 Commentary

(49:1-3) Our Past Shapes Our Future - Jacob blessed each of his sons and then made a prediction about each one's future. The way the men had lived played an important part in Jacob's blessing and prophecy. Our past also affects our present and future. By sunrise tomorrow, our actions of today will have become part of the past. Yet they will already have begun to shape the future. What actions can you choose or avoid that will positively shape your future?

(49:4) Reuben Misses His Blessing - The oldest son was supposed to receive a double inheritance, but Reuben lost his special honor. Unstable and untrustworthy, especially in his younger days, he had gone so far as to sleep with one of his father's concubines. Jacob could not give the birthright blessing to such a dishonorable son.

(49:8-12) Judah's Change and Blessing - Judah had sold Joseph into slavery and tried to defraud his daughter-in-law. So why did Jacob grant him this blessing? God had chosen Judah to be the ancestor of Israel's line of kings (that is the meaning of "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah'"). This may have been due to Judah's dramatic change of character (see 44:33-34). Judah's line would produce the promised Messiah, Jesus.

(49:10) Shiloh is Introduced - What is Shiloh? The meaning of this difficult passage is disputed. Shiloh may be another name for the Messiah, because its literal meaning is "sent." Shiloh might also refer to the tabernacle of the congregation set up at the city of Shiloh (Joshua 18:1).

(49:18)  Dan's Potential Revealed - At the end of his prophecy to Dan, Jacob exclaimed, "I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD." He was emphasizing to Dan that he would be a strong leader only if he trusted in God, not in his natural strength or ability. Those who are strong, attractive, or talented often find it easier to trust in themselves than in God, who gave them their gifts. Remember to thank God for what you are and have so your trust does not become misplaced!

(19:23-24) Joseph Reflects on the Goodness of God - These verses celebrate the times God rescued Joseph when his enemies attacked him. So often we struggle by ourselves, forgetting that God is able to help us fight our battles, whether they are against people with weapons or against spiritual forces. Joseph was able to draw closer to God as adversity mounted. To trust God to rescue you shows great faith. Can you trust him when injury or persecution is directed at you? Such spiritual battles require teamwork between courageous, faithful people and a mighty God.

Dave Burnette's Life Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. There are many applications we can make from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 49, and in today's text, we see a father of a family gathering around all of his sons. Jacob hands out the blessings to his sons according to their lives. Jacob, now named Israel, points out his sons' weaknesses, strengths, and sins, rewarding and rebuking according to the works of their lives. Many applications can be made from this text, but the family catches my eye today. These are the 12 sons that become the 12 tribes of the Jewish nation, still known as Israel today. Descending from the sons of good character were great men like Aaron, Moses, Eli, King David, John the Baptist, Samson, Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, Ester, Paul, and the list goes on and on, with Jesus being the most notable in the good son's lineage. From the other 12 sons who faced the consequences for their sinful lives, we have no outstanding record of great men or God using the offspring who descended from these sons. Isn't that just like families today? Those who do right tend to have kids that excel while others have those that don't, and we see them falling into the same sin as their fathers and wasting their lives. I am not saying that kids of sinners are predestined for poor lives, but I am saying that a righteous man living before his kids puts them in the direction that produces Godly success. How about you? How do you live before your family? Make decisions from the examples in today's text and place your family as a Godly Successful Family.


Genesis 49

Genesis 49

 1And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

 2Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

 3Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

 4Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

 5Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

 6O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

 7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

 8Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.

 9Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

 10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

 11Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

 12His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

 13Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

 14Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:

 15And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

 16Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

 17Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

 18I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

 19Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

 20Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

 21Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.

 22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

 23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

 24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

 25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

 26The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

 27Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

 28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.

 29And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

 30In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

 32The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

 33And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.